Author: Dawson Haywood
Heatin’ Up Podcast host Luke Gibson has signed a deal to play for the Atlanta Empire which is a member of The Basketball League, a minor league basketball association that hosts teams across the United States and Canada. In the 2021 season, the league is comprised of 29 teams spread across four divisions. The league is dedicated to providing world-class professional basketball to local communities and giving players an opportunity to make a living playing the game that they love. More than the competition the league has a large focus on community outreach providing basketball clinics and school visits to the communities that teams are located in.
The league was founded in 2017 by Sev Hrywnak and Dave Magley. Teams operate with a budget between $125k and $250k each year. The Basketball League allows teams to provide players with a salary that ranges between $1,500 and $6,500 per month or $18k to $78k per year. The league places teams in cities that have formerly hosted basketball teams and cities that provide a demand for professional basketball.
Athletes in The Basketball League are comprised of players that have backgrounds in collegiate basketball that are looking to kick off their professional careers in basketball. The league also attracts international players that wish to stay in the United States as well as former NBA and professional players that wish to continue their basketball career. Imagine if players like Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh decided they wanted to continue playing basketball and utilized The Basketball League to do so.
This fairly young basketball league has been fairly successful since its inauguration unlike Lavar Ball’s Junior Basketball Association, which left many athletes ineligible for the NCAA since it was technically a professional league as well as left many of these athletes without jobs. Once LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball entered the NBA draft the JBA ceased operations and has no future of reopening operations moving forward. The big difference between the two leagues is that TBL seeks out players that already have NCAA experience and are ineligible to return to the NCAA as to not mess up their futures in basketball.
The Basketball League will find success through its community outreach programs allowing teams and athletes to immerse themselves in the communities they represent. The league provides local markets with inexpensive, quality, and competitive basketball. Through sponsorships, ticket sales, and merchandising The Basketball League is able to generate enough revenue to support all 29 teams.
Though it is a step down from the NBA G-League, The Basketball League gives athletes an opportunity to continue playing basketball at a high level while being able to make a living out of it. The team has plans on expanding to more cities come the 2022 season with 6 new teams which will make The Basketball League the largest professional basketball league in the United States.